Friday, June 24, 2011

House Wine of the (American) South


Now that summer is upon us, mornings begin with making tea for the day's ice tea. You Brits and others, devoted to making the proper cup of tea with loose tea and a warmed tea pot and all that, just avert your eyes because around here this is how I fix tea for iced tea.
Two giant teabags, about a teaspoon of sugar, and some fresh-picked sprigs of mint go into the pitcher, along with boiling water  -- filling the pitcher about two-thirds full.  Cover with a folded dishtowel and let brew a while -- 3 to 5 minutes but it's not the end of the world if you forget and come back an hour later.

I like the tea to be strong  so it can stand up to the ice-- the tiny amount of sugar mellows it out without really making it sweet. Other folks make what they call sweet tea and use a cup or more of sugar -- sweet enough to make your ears ring.

Some folks like to garnish their tea with mint and lemon -- I do too, but that's fancy sitting-on-the-porch iced tea. For utilitarian tea --the kind you drink out of a Mason jar when you come in from weeding the garden -- I don't bother with the garnish. But putting the mint in with the boiling water flavors the brew in a most refreshing way.
 


(As my grandmother taught me, the best place to grow mint is near a water faucet.)

Iced tea - house wine of the (American) South!

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31 comments:

Merisi said...

Made me smile, thank you! :-)

My experience is that mint goes wild all over the herb bed. Fencing it in at a water fountain sounds like a great idea!

Stay out of the greatest heat and take good care of yourself!

Ms. A said...

As far as wine goes... this would be my preference!

FOLKWAYS NOTEBOOK said...

Vicki -- Sweet tea of the South is my cup of tea. Fantastic photos -- barbara

Martin H. said...

Nice one, Vicki. It's nowhere near hot enough for iced tea here, yet. But temperatures are set to rise over the weekend, apparently.

Margie said...

My mouth is watering as I read your recipe Vicki. Although I am from a tea drinking nation (hot with milk), I have a preference for the french "Lipton Peach Ice Tea". I will make your "House wine" this weekend. Thank you for the tips. Hugs, Margie.

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Jon Lee said...

Thanks for the great post. I love iced tea, just slightly sweetened like you and with mint. Even though it is the wine of the south, I love it here in Illinois too.

Elora said...

And sooooo refreshing on days like we've had, lately! Nothing cools like iced tea. And thanks for the recipe!

Elora

Star said...

Avert my eyes, indeed, but I couldn't because I was curious... now I might be tempted to try it without the sugar. LOL
but I think I've been English for too long and it's too late to develop a new taste. However, your pictures do make your tea look delicious, especially on a hot day.

Brian Miller said...

mmm...love me some southern ice tea...and out of a mason jar no less...you can hold hte fancy garnish but dropping some mint in the tea does give it a bit that is nice...my grammas tea will rot your teeth, just saying...

Vicki Lane said...

In full disclosure - I personally don't like what most folks call sweet tea -- Way too sweet for me. The tiny amount I add to the pitcher is just enough to take the edge off the tannins. And while we drink iced tea at lunch and through the day, at supper time, we go with real wine.

I see old Boycott American Women is back. I deleted his post yesterday but had to check out his blog -- a bunch of guys whining about their unhappy experiences with American women who aren't subservient enough what what it seemed to me. I think I'll leave his comment today just for the entertainment value.

Louise said...

Oh heck, from the title I thought we were going to get a lesson in making moonshine! Iced tea's good though, and will get you into far less trouble.

Helen T in SC said...

The way my mama taught me to fix it - put large tea bag in pot (ours was a coffee pot doing double duty) on stove filled with water (the pot, not the stove). Bring water just to a boil but do not boil. Remove tea from stove. Add sugar in pitcher or individual glass. It accompanied every meal.

Helen T in SC said...

Apparantly "Boycott" has sexual identity issues. I encourage him to embrace his homosexuality. Love is all that matters. I don't judge.

Thérèse said...

My kind of tea. In our "tiny" backyards mint has to be contained otherwise... even with the heat it grows and grows like for Mexican primroses .

Lavi said...

I understand what you mean, it's like the sun moved next door here too. I also tried making ice tea, but thirst gets the better of me before it cools down enough. Thanks for sharing this!

chiccoreal said...

Dear Vicki: Great recipe! Since Dr. Oz says we're only to have 6 tsp of sugar a day I have to say this is a wonderful recipe for me. I find everything is too sweet or too salty today. What sort of tea brand do you prefer? I like Red Rose tea but that is only in Canada (I think?). I am into herbal teas like pepperming. Great idea about how-to grow mint! Thanks!

halloweencouple said...

love the mason jar glass :)

no sugar for me but a glass of unsweet ice tea with lemon there's nothing better on a summer day!

Friko said...

You haven't said how much ice goes in to bring the drink up to the desired quantity.
I'd love to try and make it.

Vicki Lane said...

Friko -- I make the tea fairly early in the morning so that it has time to cool before we're ready for it. I don't put the ice in the pitcher. Just fill a glass with ice and pour the cooled tea over it. The ice will only dilute it slightly and the cool tea in the pitcher will wait patiently through the day till you need it. We usually begin drinking iced tea around ten or ten thirty and carry on till four or five, depending on thirst. Then, of course, it's time for a glass of wine or a gin and tonic.

Toss out any leftover tea and start afresh in the morning.

Any strongish tea suits me -- especially the ones meant for iced tea.

Helen -- oh, tee hee!

NCmountainwoman said...

I do not like the taste of tea. Everyone finds iced tea so refreshing and try as hard as I might, I just don't like it. I felt really cheated as a child when the other kids got to drink tea and I had boring old milk. I do love hot herbal teas, but not regular green or black.

Susan M. Bell said...

A bit over a cup of sugar to a gallon pitcher of tea...that's what I'm used to. I guess where I come from, what you make is pretty much considered unsweet tea, and just ain't right. LOL.

Vagabonde said...

I like Publix Peach Ice Tea but it is too sweet. I tried to make ice tea for my husband but it did not taste good. I measured 2 cups of water and boiled it, then I added 8 little bags of tea and sugar and let them stay about 8 minutes. Then I let it cool. He served it on ice but said it did not have much taste. I did not try to drink it as I don’t like ice cubes much. I always drink tap water and “cool” drink without ice. What did I do wrong with my husband ice tea? He liked the ice tea at Mary Mac’s Tea Room (I drank mine there after I took most of the ice cubes out.)

100 Thoughts of Love said...

my tea has to make my ears ring then ;)

Vicki Lane said...

Yes, this is NOT sweet tea -- and I'm in a minority in the South for not liking sweet tea. But this is the tea I grew up with.

Vagabonde -- I'd suggest you experiment with different teas and strengths till you find one your husband likes -- or let him experiment. It's so much a matter of taste. One thing -- tea people generally say you pour the boiling water ONTO the teabags to fully release the flavor.

Tipper said...

I'm not sure I could live without tea : )And I hope I never have to find out!

Kath said...

WEll, now. I've had sweet tea and tea without sugar, iced kind. I thought I was a no sugar tea fan, but I'm going to have to try that teaspoon of sugar in the tea.

Where do you stand on Sun Tea?

Vicki Lane said...

Kath, I used to make sun tea all the time and it was good -- but it took too long to brew to the strength I like. Therefore the early morning boiling water brew.

Susan M. Bell said...

I've had to give up "regular" tea for the most part and buy decaf bags. But, I have found that my favorite now is green tea. It makes wonderful iced tea as well as hot. Great stuff.

Geri F. Brewster said...

Tasted the tea in my mind. I've got to make some of that mountain wonder to refresh my taste buds.

Geri F. Brewster said...

Can just taste and smell this aroma. Think I'll have to make some of this mountain wonder to start off this spring....if it ever gets here!!